Successful development of an appropriate tree breeding strategy and wood utilization requires information on wood properties. This study was therefore conducted to assess wood density and mechanical properties of Pinus kesiya Royle ex Gordon grown in Malawi. Wood samples from six families of P. kesiya at the age of 30 years were used for the study. The estimated mean wood density, Modulus of Elasticity (MoE), Modulus of Rupture (MoR) and moisture content were 0.593 ± 0.001 g/cm3, 13.46 ± 0.07 GPa, 113.67 ± 0.57 MPa and 12.08% ± 0.03%, respectively. There were statistically significant (p < 0.001) differences in wood density and mechanical properties along the radial direction and stem height. Wood density and mechanical properties increased from pith to bark and decreased from the butt upwards. There were no significant (p > 0.05) differences in wood density and mechanical properties among the families. This is an indication that any tree among the families can be selected for tree improvement programs if density is considered as a variable. Wood density had a strong positive significant linear relationship with both MoE (r = 0.790; p < 0.001) and MoR (r = 0.793; p < 0.001). This suggests that it has the potential to simultaneously improve the wood density and mechanical properties of this species. Therefore, controlling wood density for the tree improvement program of P. kesiya in Malawi would have a positive impact on mechanical properties.
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